CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Todd Collins #10 of the Chicago Bears makes a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the preseason game on September 2 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland Ohio. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
I don't know about you guys, but I am so glad the preseason is finally over. This doesn't change my stance on the whole proposed 2 game preseason/18 game regular season. I'm on the side that you need 4 preseason games to evaluate players and hopefully find a player or players that stand out. Last year for the Bears that guy was Johnny Knox, who was on the verge of being waived until he shined in the final two preseason games. Knox went on to have a pretty good rookie year, playing an integral part in the Bears passing offense while earning a trip to the Pro Bowl as a Kick Returner. Although there really wasn't that type of player for the Bears this preseason, the 3rd and 4th preseason games answered some questions for this Bears team.
Lefevour's poor play pretty much brought this grade down to a B-, and that is maybe part of the reason why he isn't here. Before I get into that whole mess, I will get into Collins' play last week. Collins played pretty well, and looked very comfortable orchestrating the offense, granted it was against the Browns 2nd and 3rd stringers. His best play was probably the 39 yard pass play to Juaquin Iglesias, where he stayed poised in the pocket, scanned the field and fired a pass to a wide open Iglesias. I think the play of Collins last Thursday was a blessing, because it now gives you a back-up who understands what Martz wants to do (years under Coryell disciples Al Saunders and Joe Gibbs help) and also doesn't put too much pressure on Caleb Hanie where can just focus on development. As far as Dan Lefevour is concerned, I am not an ounce mad that he didn't make it through waivers. He was clearly a 2 to 3 year project and right now he's not better than the other developmental project you have in Hanie. I really don't get mad at 6th round picks for not turning out well, but with the biggest question mark coming into the season being your Offensive Line, you have to raise your eyebrow or make a stink face at the Bears for passing up on Notre Dame and now Broncos reserve Center Eric Olsen for a project at O Line.
Hard to evaluate a player when he doesn't see the field that much, but the good news for Williams is that they've seen enough to put him on the practice squad.
Johan Asiata had a pretty good game, Marten had an okay game and that's part of the reason why Asiata made the 53 over Marten. The other part is upside, and Johan, when looking back at all the 4 preseason games, has that. The Bears figure that a year under Mike Tice will do Asiata good because one of the minor problems Asiata has in his game that needs work is his technique. It looks like I was right on J'Marcus Webb making the 53 man roster as his measurables were just too good to place on waivers. He had a good game in my opinion especially during the 2 minute drill as he held his own against the outside pass rush. Like Asiata, a year or two under Tice will do him good as Tice can work on his fundamentals and strengthen up his technique. If he buys into Tice, he can be a really good tackle in this league. As far as Beekman being released, I just wasn't that surprised - he has had a very bad preseason and that's unacceptable - especially for someone who was entering his 4th season in the league. Looks like Tice got through to Angelo by letting him realize that Beekman is not the heir apparent at center once Olin Kreutz is done.
Outside of the 39 yard catch from Collins, not that much noise was made by Iglesias or Matthews as once again they both were outplayed by Rashied Davis. I was maybe asking a little too much from Iglesias in my original match-up post since it was almost impossible for Iglesias to have a big game with Lefevour throwing to him. Matthews was quiet all preseason, but the coaches like his skills enough to let him develop on the practice squad. Iglesias has made much improvement from last summer to this summer, and the Bears are hoping that a year on the practice squad helps him take another step in his development.
Gilbert had an okay game, but he got outplayed by Barry Turner who was all over the field last Thursday. The release of Gilbert definitely is a fail on Angelo's part, but it looks like he has made up for it by picking up Turner and keeping him on the practice squad. I wouldn't be surprised if he is called up at some point during the season if an injury were to happen to one of the DE's.
Harrison has played hard all preseason, but that hasn't stopped him from being outshined by both Toenia and Melton. Melton has shown the hustle and tenacity this preseason that makes the coaches believe he will be an effective pass rusher in the nickel packages.
Considering that the Browns 2nd and 3rd string receivers didn't do anything significant in the game, I would have to give Moore and Graham a high grade. Joshua Moore has been a surprise this summer especially in man to man coverages. There were rumors that the Bears might try to sneak him on the PS, but considering that he was no secret in the draft I doubt if he would have lasted very long there during the season. Moore will need this year to build up his strength and get stronger, so Graham will most likely be ahead of him on the depth chart.
Both guys needed to stand out and both failed to deliver, though you can't blame them when they are playing a deep zone and the Cleveland QBs didn't attack downfield. I was a bit surprised that the coaches didn't put Scott on the 8 man practice squad considering his size and skills that he put on display when he played centerfield FS at Northern Iowa.